A FOND farewell – a Christmas card shop which has raised over £600,000 for local charities over the last 50 years has folded, in the face of the increasing popularity of e-cards.
Committee members of The Rugby Combined Charities Christmas Card Shop (RCCCCS) decided to close the shop after it emerged St Andrews Church – which has been its home for the last 28 years – is no longer able to host it during its usual trading months of October to December.
In a joint statement, the committee said: “We are sad to announce that the shop is closing.
“We would like to thank everybody who has been involved over the last 50 years. Thousands of pounds have been raised for charity in that time and many people have given their support in different ways, including the press who have given us so much publicity.
“We thank St Andrews church for hosting the RCCCCS for the last 28 years.”
Committee member Zinnia Allen said they decided the time had come for the shop – which raised over £16,000 in the six weeks before Christmas last year – to go out on a high.
She said: “We’ve looked into the idea of finding another venue but it’s just not viable for all sorts of reasons; security, insurance, facilities, storage – the list is endless. To start it up somewhere else would be impractical.
“It was a big project. A great deal of work went into it, and people on the committee are getting older. We’ve got more to do with fewer people, and we work pretty hard as it is.
“Fifty years is phenomenal. We want it to go out on a high, rather than peter out somewhere else.”
St Andrew’s rector Rev’d Imogen Nay said the decision was made, after much consideration, due to pressures on space in the church – particularly in December.
She said: “St Andrew’s must diversify and innovate to ensure the church can remain at the heart of our community for another 1,000 years.
“The decline in the practice of sending cards at Christmas means that the card shop is operating in a very different environment compared to 50 years ago. Many people now send e-cards or donate money they would have spent on cards direct to charity.”
She added everyone at the church had been delighted to support the work of RCCCCS.
She said: “The Card Shop has been a regular and welcome fixture at St Andrew’s, and we’re pleased we have enabled them to raise such significant funds for charity through offering our space free of charge.”
The shop came from humble beginnings in 1967, when it was founded by two masters at Lawrence Sheriff School, supervising senior boys who sold Christmas cards in Parkside garage showrooms in Railway Terrace. £400 was raised that year.
By 1968, the card shop was given the title of The Lawrence Sheriff School Christmas Card Shop and the takings rose to £550.
In the early 70s, the card shop was given its present title and was staffed by local women who raised around £1,000 a year for 11 charities. It continued in the garage showroom for many more years, and by 1982 takings had grown to £5,000 which was shared between 20 charities.
In 1987 the card shop moved to Bretherton’s Solicitors in Church street before moving to St Andrew’s church in 1989.
Rev’d Nay added: “Supporting and promoting local and national charities will always remain a part of our mission and vision. The ever-popular Christmas Tree Festival which raises funds for local charities is going to be a particularly spectacular experience this year.
“Our Events Manager arranged some new events last year during the festive season and charities can hire our building and forecourt at charity rates for table-top sales, concerts and many other events.”
Email [email protected] for more information.